Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

Proposed Changes to USPTO Examiner Count System.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on October 1, 2009

Yesterday, the USPTO announced a proposal to change the examiner count system.  The examiner count system determines the time a patent examiner has to complete a patent examination and how much credit is given for each stage of the examination.  The proposal was developed by a task force comprised of senior managers in the USPTO and leadership of the Patent Office Professional Association (POPA), the union that represents patent examiners.

Per this press release, the proposed changes are designed to:

•  Set the foundation for long-term pendency improvements.
•  Increase customer satisfaction by incentivizing quality work at the beginning of the examination process.
•  Encourage examiners to identify allowable subject matter earlier in the examination process.
•  Rebalance incentives both internally and externally to decrease rework.
•  Increase examiner morale and reduce attrition.

The examiner count system was created in the mid-1960s and hasn’t been revised since 1976.  Accordingly, the proposed changes (if implemented) will be the most signficant changes in more than 30 years.

Details about the proposed changes to the examiner count system may be viewed here.

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